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America 8, California 8, Washington 7, Manhattan 6, Mike Murphy 5, Us 5, Ron Brownstein 4, Dee Dee Myers 4, U.s. 4, Florida 4, Mr. Boehner 4, David Axelrod 3, Koran 3, United States 3, Obama Administration 3, Clinton 3, Jerry Brown 3, Rudy Giuliani 3, Afghanistan 3, South America 3,
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  MSNBC    Meet the Press    News/Business. A moderator  
   interviews a leading public figure. (CC)  

    September 12, 2010
    2:00 - 3:00pm EDT  

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>> that's all for now. i'm chris hansen. for ann curry and all of us at nbc news, thanks for watching. this sunday, the politics of the economy. have americans lost faith in the president and his party to dig the country out of recession? >> the hole the recession left was huge. the progress has been painfully slow. millions of americans are still looking for work. >> can the white house d anything before november to put people back to work? and who is right in the debate about your taxes? i'll explore the president's thinking and go inside the white house's campaign strategy with senior adviser to the president, david axle rod. then, nine years after 9/11, what's behind the new wave of anti-muslim sentiment in america?
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has the president helped or hurt by wading into controversies about an islamic community center and mosque in lower manhattan and a florida's pastor threat to burn a holy koran. an exclusive interview with former mayor of new york city and 2008 presidential candidate, rudy giuliani. finally, our political roundtable weighs in on the legacy of the 9/11 attacks, religious tensions in america and the economy, plus, the outlook for the midterm race. withs the bestselling author of "no god but god: the origins, evolution and the future of islam," reza aslan. former white house press secretary to president clinton, dee dee myers, republican strategist mike murphy and ron brownstein of "the national journal." good morning. after a weekend of start and stop announcement, news from iran this morning that jailed american sarah shourd will be
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released on $500,000 bail along with the two fraen-ds friends, shane bauer and josh fattal. she's been accused of spying and detained in an iran prison last summer. joining me from des moines, p iowa, the president's top political adviser, david axelrod. welcome back to "meet the press," mr. axle rod. >> thanks, david. good to be here. >> what about this news from iran? what do we k when she will be released and will it happen this time? >> obviously we're hopeful and encouraged by these news but there have been starts and stops in this before and until that actually hapns, you know, we're on a wait and see basis. >> as far as bower and fattal and their release, is there any progress there? >> you know, david, i won't comment on any of that right now because we're in a sensitive stage here. obviously we're hopeful that we can get these folks out. they should never have been in jail in the first place. they are being held under false pretenses and they should be
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released. we're working very hard to see that that happens. >> let me turn to politics and the domestic agenda particularly the economy. the president announced plans for some additional infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy. he also would like to give at business tax breaks that the corporate world has responded favorably to. should these become law and be l passed, what impact could they have by november?on >> i don't know that -- the goal is not to have impact by november. the goal is to have impact. and to get this economy moving. i know everybody is looking at this, in washington is looking at this election looking at the economy through the prism of the ection but when people are sitting around their kitchen table, they're not looking at the nbc news poll. they're looking at bills they can't pay. they're concerned about their future. they want to know that we have policies that will not only get the economy accelerating in the
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short run but will lay a foundation for future growth h. >> the white house has an economic strategy but the white house is also tactical and it is indeed looking at the november election. when you announce some of these policies at a point when most people agree it's not going to get passed by november. david in "the wall street journal" wrote this on wednesday. obamanomics. the president's moves are late. there was ample on obama and economics, he writes, the president's moves are late. there was ample warning early this year that economic recovery lacked vigor. had these policies been proposed in the screen, congress might have adopted them and the economy would be feeling the lift by now. instead the president looks like he checked the economy off the to do list prematurely and now turned to financial reform, energy, immigration and middle east peace. and now, regrets that. response? >> i strongly disagree with that. we've been doing things all along to accelerate this economy earlier in the year, we passed a hi act t
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those firms who hire unemployed workers. we've been trying for months as you know to pass additional tax breaks for small businesses on top of the aid we've given them and expand lending. politics n held up by in the united states senate. we're hopeful next week we may be able to breakhe logjam. senator voinovich, a republican said, it's time to stop playing games, he said to his own party, so we agree with that. we've done things right along to keep this recovery moving in the right direction. we've had eight straight months of positive job growth in the private sector. we need to accelerate that pace and that's the reason the president has proposed these additional ideas. whether they have -- we're ready to pass them tomorrow if the republican party in the senate allows it. if they pass the small business tax bill and if they want to move on others, we're ready to go. if they want to wait until after the election, we'll have to wait until after the election.
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>> when you talk about the economic progress that has or has not been made, there's been critics who have looked at how the president has talked about the economy and we compiled some of what the president has said about the economy going back to last april. let's look at that. >> what you are starting to see is glimmers of hope across the economy. that's why we're turning this economy around. i'm convinced that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. this month's jobs numbers are a sign that we have begun to put the brakes on this recession. the worst may be behind us. >> and here is what the white house, the website from the white house touted earlier in the summer. it was recovery summer as it was billed by the white house in campaign across the country as administration kicked off events in the summer, groundbreaking events across the country. here's the economic record which istill quite bleak. 9.6% unemployment. 16 months of straight 9% or
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higher unemployment. 54,000 jobs lost in august. 14.9 million unemployed. 6.2 million of which are long-term unemployed. and just today in "the new york times" a reminder of the real cost of this. a story that we see as the economy tumbles, numbers of families in shelters rise. you've had a rise in the number of families actually going into homeless shelters. it's a question of the president's rhetoric versus reality. are those things out of sync? >> no, they're not out of sync.r obviously in april, we were on a slightly greater scheme than we were over the summer because you had a greek fiscal crisis that took 15% off the stock market and caused businesses to retrench further, but the reality remains that when we took office, we were losing 800,000 jobs in the month of january when we took over from the last administration. we lost 4 million jobs in the last six months of the last
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administration. we've had eight months of private sector job growth. we have to accelerate. listen, the hole that this recession created was huge. 8 million people lost their jobs and that's on top of a decade in which the middle class was treading water and there's a lot of pain out there and a lot of -- people are frustrated. they deserve to be frustrated. we're frustrated. we want to move this economy forward more quickly. we would like some cooperation to do it. the real issue since you put this in a political context, the real issue for people this november is going to be what direction do we want to go? the other side and you have pete sessions on your show, head of the congressional campaign committee for the republans, said we want to go back to the very same agen we had before this president took office. that agenda was a disaster. that agenda turned the clinton surplus into a record deficit of $1.3 trillion. gave free rein to the special interests and led to the biggest -- at the expense of the middle class and the economy and
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led to the greatest economic collapse since the great depression. why would we want to go back to yhat? >> let me ask you, when you think, as a practical matter, when does the economic team think that obama administration economic policies will have a sizable impact on the unemployment rate in this country? >> david, there was a study that was released just a couple weeks ago by a couple economists, one republican and one democrat, some leading economists in the country who said the things that we did not only saved or created 3.5 million jo, 3.5 million ut more people are working, but wed would have lost -- if we hadn't taken all the step ws we had taken, we would have lost twice as many jobs as we did during the recession. the hole was tremendous. the damage is great. it took ten years to create that problem. it's going to take nearly ten years to -- w >> when is the expectation the unemployment rate is going to come down in a meaningful way? >> well, we're moving toward that with every step that we
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take.ou obviously 750,000 new private sector jobs created this year is a start. we need to accerate that. it will come with growth. that growth will come with steps we've taken and it will come with a revitalization of the middle class which is why, of course, we want to extend tax cuts for the middle class. >> the fundamental belief of the american people has to be retha things are going to get better. this administration saidhat with the stimulus plan you would have unemployment at 8%. that proved not to be the case. you had some real big bites of e legislative apple with successes. health care reform, financial regulation, a large stimulus plan which the president argued was necessary and yet here we stand the latest nbc news "wall street journal" poll disapproveh of the president's handling of the economy at 56%. but here is what is, in many ways, more damning than that, the judgment of whether people are optimistic about the future and here it is from the same poll, will things get better or worse or stay the same? 51% think they'll stay the same or get worse. this was a president, mr.
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axelrod, who was elected on a promise of transformation of washington and better handling of the economy. isn't the lack of confidence in him on the economy the ultimate judgment that you were trying to avoid? >> no. look, i'm not worried about the judgment of him. i'm worried about moving this economy forward. that's what he's worried about. we walked into something that nobody anticipated. we knew the situation was bad. no one knew how bad it was. it was the greatest downturn since the great depression. and our job since that time is to work day in and day out to move that forward. the economy is growing now instead of shrinking. we're gaining jobs instead of losing them. we have to accelerate that. people are discouraged. they have gone through not just a hard recession but for many people they've been treading water for a decade and salaries and wages have flatlined and so on, but the answer is to do thea array of things that we have to do to invest in our infrastructure, to give business
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the incentive to grow, to give middle class people money to spend to get our economy moving again and to have the best educated workforce and do things to expand exports and all of the things that we're working on will move this economy forward. of course people are discouraged. it's been a tough time. >> if this is an election -- >> i want to say one thing. >> this is a question about choices. >> let's talk about the choices -- >> -- americans have lost confidence in this president's direction to fix the economy. >> listen, you look at your sama poll and i've looked at your poll obviously and the thing that people said that de them most uncomfortable candidate was whether they supported the economic policies of george w. bush and you listen to -- and policies that existed before this president took office. you listen to what john boehner, the man who would be speaker, has said about what he wants to do about the economy. he says he wants to restore
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those tax cuts for companies that ship our jobs overseas. he wants to cancel the obama tax cuts that were part of the recovery act for the middle clasand raise taxes on 110 million families and yet he wants to borrow $700 billion to give millionaires and billionaires another tax cut and add to our deficits and then this morning we read that the long comnity has rallied to boehner for speaker campaign and spent millions of dollars so that they can go back to writing the rules themselves. they said, we don't need to buy access to mr. boehner. we already have that. we want him in power so we're in power. we don't want to go to the same policies and practices that drove our economy pinto a ditc that punished the middle class and led us to this catastrophe. we have on keep moving forward. >> let me ask you more specific question about this debate about tax cuts. you mentioned leader boehner for the republicans who is saying in an interview that in fact he would support the middle class tax cuts to the extension of which is what the president
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wants. he said on friday, don't hold those hostage. i'm asking if there is any room to compromise with republicans to extend even if it is for two years, as your formerly departed budget director called for, those on upper income americans, those on tax cuts from the bush rae? >> if you read carefully what our budget director said, he said he would prefer we didn't move forward on the upper income tax cuts because he doesn't believe they're stimulative and he doesn't believe we can afford it but he thought for political reasons, we might have to accept it. so that, let's lay that aside. but mr. boehner -- no one believes that mr. boehner -- they called the last set of tax cuts temporary. they're going to c ontinue -- i think we have to assume they're going to continue to keep pushing this forward. let me make one point clear. what we're proposing is a tax cut for 100% of americans upo $250,000 of their income. if you make under $250,000 you get a tax cut on all your inme. if you make more than that, you
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get it up to $250,000. if you're a millionaire, you get what everybody else gets up to $250,000 and not $100,000 a year that mr. boehner wants to give us. we just can't afford it. and really what we ought to do is as the president said agree on the middle class tax cuts. let's not hold them hostage while we debate whether we're in going to give this very small number of people at the top a tax cut that we can't afford. >> it wastriking to me hearing e president on friday when he talked about the economy and the choice in this election. he did not mention anything in his opening remarks about health care rorm, which he and you and others have billed as signature achievement of this administration. in fact, you have said that once peop know more about health care, the more popular it will become and, in fact, we see reporting this week in politico that in fact there aren't any democrats who supported this who are out there touting that vote and only those
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who opposed it are touting it in the election. and it's striking because in march, senator chuck schumer was on the program and this is what he said about health care. >> i predict by november those who voted for health care will find it an asset and those who voted against it will find it a liability. >> the opposite has turned out to be true. why is it that the president has failed to win the argument about the benefits of health care reform? >> well, first of all, i don't think health care is driving this election, david. i think the economy is driving this election. people have anxiety about that economy. i tell you -- they don't -- you know why we worked on health care? >> why did you spend so last year on health care? >> you know why? we worked on health care because health care was and is a huge problem in this country in terms of the cost of it to people and the government in terms of the relationship between people and their insurance companies. no one wants tsio go back to a situation where if you have a pre-existing medical condition you can be deprived of coverage.
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no one wants to go back to a situation where if you get seriously ill you can get thrown off your insurance. seniors don't want to go back to paying more for prescription drugs. no one is calling for that. if the republican party wants to make the argument that that's what we should do, then they should make it openly and honestly. >> this administration made the argument that part of economic recovery was passing health care reform. part of getting the economic fiscal house in order in the government wasealth care reform, and yet democrats are not campaigning on it because lly toxic. you said that wouldn't be the case and that it would get more popular and not less. >> i think that health care over time is going to become more popular but people are focused on this economy right now. they have anxiety about this economy. that's what is driving the vote right now, david. and at the end of the day you mentioned the fiscal, congressional budget office and every objective observer who has
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looked at it has said this will save a trillion dollars over the course of the next couple of decades or more in budget deficits and that's an important part of it. we have to think long as well as short. >> before you go, rahm emanuel, chief of staff, whether he's eyeing the mayoral run in chicago, if he were to take some early steps toward raising money looking into it, can he do that with president's blessing while he's still chief of staff? >> i think the president has been clear that while rahm is chief of staff, he'll be focused on his duties as chief of staff. he's looking at it -- he loves the city of chicago. no question about it. he has a hard decision to make because he has a lot of responsibilities here and he enjoys working with this president and serves his country in this capaci but he'll make a decision and after he makes his decision he'll make subsequent decisions about when it is appropriate to begin doing that campaigning.u >> david axelrod, thank you very much.
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enjoy the steak fry this afternoon in iowa. >> looking forwardk to it. thank you. we turn to a republican candidate for the 2008 presidential election and of course the mayor of new york city at the time of the september 11th attacks, rudy giuliani joins me now from 30 rockefeller plaza in the heart of manhattan. mr. mayor, welcome back to "meet the press." >> good mornaving. how are you, david? >> i'm very well, thank you. i want to talk about a tumultuous week leading to the ninth anniversary of 9/ the 9/11 attacks. as you look at the controversy surrounding what happened, this debate over the mosque and community center in lower b manhattan, the threat to burn the koran by a florida pastor, entiment anti-muslim s in the country on the ninth anniversary, what's happening? what's behind that? >> i can't tell you exactly what's behind it. something like this probably could have happened at any time. these controversies happening right now i don't think are necessarily connected to each other. ifou had told me four years
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ago someone wants to put a mosque up near ground zero, i would have told you that 80%, 90% lyof the family members wou be very offended by that and very hurt by that for a whole host of reasons having nothing to do with islam phobia but having to do with how they feel this is sacred ground and that muslim center there would not be appropriate. someplace else would be perfectly appropriate. if you told me people would have gotten upset if someone wanted to burn the koran three, four, five years ago,ame thing would have been the case. why these things are happening now, they could be connected or unconnected. i analyze them both the same way. the imam has a rig to put the mosque there. freedom of religion gives him that right. the minister has the right to burn the koran. the same amendment of the constitution gives him that right. the first amendment. in either case, common sense and a real dedication to healing
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th these men of god would theoretically have would tell you not to do that because you hurt too many people. >> you mentioned the imam who wants to build a community center in lower manhattan who appeared on cnn this week. he issued a warning of sorts about this debate moving forward and its impact. let me play a portion of that. >> if we move from that location, the story will be that the radicals have taken over the discourse. the headlines in the muslim world will be that islam is under attack. and i'm less concerned about radicals in america than i am concerned about radicals in the muslim world. >> are you concerned about that warning? >> i'm concerned about the imam doing that. i think that tactic is not the kind of tactic i would have expected from an imam who is featured as a man of conciliation.
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i analyzed this imam's history pret carefully and i hate to simplefy it but there's no other way to do it. he's about being open and transparent about what he's doing and how he's doing it. then there's the bad imam that said america is an accessory to september 11th. america has more muslim blood on its hands than vice versa. he can't condemn hamas as a terrorist group and will not be trans pant about where he's getting the money, how he's getting the money, and has virtually not been open at all about this and now we have the imam who tells us if he doesn't get his way, there could be significant and dangerous violence. those are very, very strong words and to enter a sort of suggestion of a threat into this, i worry about this as the kind of tactics that he pursues. >> you talked in stark terms, however, about moving forward with this community center and mosque saying that if you are in fact committed to being a
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healer, you don't go forward with the project, but if you are a warrior, you do. are you actually suggesting that he's a warrior because of his interest in building this? >> i'm suggesting that he seems by his actions to be more interested in confrontation than in healing. actually, if you go on with the rest of that quo, i was talking about the pope and the issue that he faced several years ago with a convent outside of auschwitz. there was a could be event there, perfect right to have it. many people in the jewish community felt it was insensitive. popes and nuns would say we'll stay here. we have a right to do that. let's have that confrontation and bring it on. m the pope being a man of healing wanting not to make things more painful for people who have had way too much pain, he said, let's withdraw, let's pull it back. he has the same choice. the people he's hurting most are the families who have lost loved ones down there. they don't a feel that way but 80% to 90% feel extremely hurt by this and it's making them relive the pain.
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they should be the ones to get the most consideration, not the imam, not me, not the president, not the mayor. they're the ones that are the most affected by this. >> let me move to the legacy of the 9/11 attacks and the war against terrorism. you said after 9/11 you said the sooner and faster we find osama bin laden the safer the world is going to be. he still has not been captured.s he's an iconic figure for sure. is he more than that? are we not safe after 9/11 until he's captured? >> i would still say the same thing. the fact is that we will not bee safe even after he is captured. there's a little more symbolism to it now than there would have been then. there was more reality to it then. by that i mean at that time he was much more active and had much more flexibility to conduct a further attack. we've pinned him down a lot more with efforts of the bush and obama administration in this area have been both effective in
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circling him in, but there's a m tremendous symbolic value in catching him and bringing justice including his ability to recruit and in any war and however you want to describe this war, it's a different kind of war but it's a war. you capture a significant leader and you have affected the morale of the other side and maybe that's even more exaggerated ini a situation like this. >> i want to ask you more generally about america's fight against terrorism. there's an article out. it's out in "the washington post" this morning. i want to put a portion on the screen. let's stop playing into bin laden's hands. the goal of organized terrorist attack is to go to more powerful enemy into an excessive t respoe and over the past nine years, the u.s. blundered into the 9/11 snare with one overreaction after another. bin laden deserves to be focus but much of what he has achieved we have done to ourselves.
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he does not deserve that even inadvertently, fulfill many of his dreams. bin laden has watched his relatively tiny and all but anonymous organization of a few hundred zealots turn into the most recognized international franchise since mcdonald's. could any enemy of the united states have achieved more with less? how do you respond to that? >> there's a bit of a pocy probm for the united states here that if you do you're damned and if you don't, you're damned. in the period of time when we weren't paying as much attention to bin laden and al qaeda, they were attacking us almost every other year, i'm tking about in the '90s, culminating in the attack of the "uss cole" in which we didn't respond because we weren't clear enough about who the enknee were.ki since we've had those kind of change in policy, call it going on offense against islamic terrorism, which bush began and which, in the case of afghanistan, the obama administration are
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and i support them in this,re continuing at home, at least, we've been able to avoid a repetition of the september 11th attack, which i have to tell you, nine years ago today, which would have been the day after september 11th, when i was still mayor, i was being briefed we were going to be attacked numerous times. i can't tell you all the reasons that we haven't been attacked in the way in which everyone predicted, but i think part of it is that big response that ted is talking about is keeping them on defense. i wouldn't pull that away without analyzing it very closely because, in my view, the more you have islamic extremism on defense, the safer we are. the more you give them room to plan, maneuver and work out attacks, the more dangerous we are. >> thpresident said on friday, this is a threat that will be with the united states for a long time, but he said something notable, it doesn't have to dominate our foreign policy. do you agree or disagree with that?
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>> i agree with that completely and it better not dominate our foreign sebastopol see. this is an enemy, it's a significant enemy, but it's not an enemy like nazism and communism in the sense that it's it's worldwide conflagration. it can create horrible attacks maybe worse than nazis or communism or the worst attack in our history, but it's not an all-encompassing enemy. we have to give attention to issues with asia and africa and issues with europe and south america.av we can't have people in south america feeling we're not paying attention to south america because we're so concentrated on this terrorism issue. that's a real difficult thing for both the bush administration, the obama administration or any administration to carry out. i'm glad the president said that because that becomes like a warning to his administration, please pay attention to these other things with equal force.
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>> i want to ask you a political question, an economic question, back in 2004 on this program, this is a comment you made about your republican party. >> the republican party is a much bigger tent than people give it credit for. e have a lot of what i guess republicans. >> do you still think that's the case?. >> i love when you go back. you can find me saying almost anything. you can probably contradict everything i said on your show at one time in the past. >> do you believe that is still the case with the republican party. do you think that republicans as a minority party in washington have acted constructively and responsibly during this tion? >> i do. i do because the president gave them not much choice. i think republicans did suggest changes in health care that the president rejected out of hand. i'm pretty conversant with that debate. for example, for the reform. if theresident had included tort reform which he took off the table immediately in health care, he probably could ve gotten eight to ten republicans on board. i had dinner the other night --
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>> hold on. that's a big assumption and much bigger debate. >> my more narrow question is, whether you think what you said in 2004 holds, which is, is the republican party still a big tent party with moderate republicans in its ranks? >> i'm still here. i'm still here. >> you tried to run against the president and you didn't do it successfully. do you think the tide has turned in the republican party and it's become something different? >> no. i think the republican party has always had this tension as the democratic party has when you have a group of people that are significantly ideological and then you have other people that are more center right and i think we have a significant number of those and candidates running right now that are easily described that way. i think we're as broad a political party if not broader than the democratic party just in the political spectrum. >> who is the most prominent voice in the republican party? >> probably right today, next couple of months, john boehner
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would be the most prevalent voice because he's the one that has the best chance of becoming a national leader in an official way over the next two to three months. >> all right. i have to try to pin you down before you go on this point. the standings are a little tight in the american league east after the yankees dropped a game to the rangers last night. up by half a game over the rays. what's going to happen here, mr. mayor? >> well, i have to confess that my wife wento high school with the manager of the rays so this is an issue even in my home. i think we take it. we'll be in the playoffs with them one way or another. we're the winner and they're the wild card or they're the winner and we're the wild card. we're going to be playing five or seven games with them. and i think our experience and our pitching staff and our playoff hardened players like mariano and jeter and a-rod, i think we win. >> all right. mr. mayor, we'll leave it there. thank you very much. up next, the legacy of the 9/11 attacks. religious tensions in america, the economy and the outlook for the midterm race. our roundtable weighs in on all
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of it. author of "no god but god: the origins, evolution and the future of islam," reza aslan, form white house press secretary to president clinton, dee dee myers, [ mom ] game time is l about the traditions. tit's all about the tackles and the touchdowns... and watching my boys do what they do. but for me, tit's all about the tackles it's even more than that. game time is about our time. together. [ femyoale announcer ] get low prices on all your favorites for the game. save money. live better. walmart. i've been looking at the numbers, and i think our campus is spending too much money on printing. i'd like to put you in charge of cutting costs. calm down. i know that it is not your job. what i'm saying... excuse me? alright, fine. no, you don't have to do it. ok?
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coming up, 51 days until the midterm elections. can president obama help democrats retain control of congress? our roundtable weighs in on the politics of 2010 aftf er this brief commercial break. doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way. yes way, no weigh. priority mail flat rate box shipping starts at $4.95, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship.
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we're joined with our roundtable. a lot to get to. author of "no god but god: the origins, evolution and the future of islam,reza aslan, ron brownstein, republican strategist mike murphy in from l.a. and former clinton white house press secretary and
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contributing editor to "vanity fair," dee dee myers. i want to talk politics and the economy but i want to talk 9/11l and this tumultuous week, a surreal week, in many ways, with the threats from the florida pastor and what's going on in lower manhattan. we look at the views of islam in "the washington post" poll unfavorable now at 49%. look at that, eclipsing even the unfavorable rating in october of 2001. and you look at the flag burning and some of the reactions we've seen to the debate we've been having here going on in the middle east and afghanistan and pakistan, burning flags. you see this kind of thing. this is the hearts and minds mpaign that general petraeus is waging in afghanistan and elsewhere in pakistan and there are setbacks to it. reza, you wrote this as part of an npr commentary at themm end the summer. the fear is that this islamaphobia may lead to the same kind of radicalization among muslim youth in the u.s. that we have seen in europe. it has played into the hands of
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al qaeda that have been trying to convince the american muslims, are we in danger of proving al qaeda right? i'm a liberal progressive american muslim but when i see th bigotry against my faith, my very identity hasecome so common place in america that it is a wedge issue in the elections and i can barely control my anger. i can't imagine how the next neration of american muslim youth will react to such prov vacations. wh's behind this? >> part of it has to do with the controversy surrounding the ismic communitcenter in lower manhattan. it is true that there are those who oppose the project bause they do believe that it will disturb the sensitivities of some 9/11 victims, though i do want to remind everyone in this country we do not define our constitutional rights by how they disturb people's sensitivities. you only have to spend a few minutes at ground zero yesterday and to take in this international cabal of
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international antimuslim anti-muslim zet outs that gathered together to spout the most vile racist bigotry to know that this is about something re. anti-muslim sentiment in this country is at unprecedented levels. we know this. what's truly disturbing is how mainstream it's becoming with politicians on both sides and i would have to include the former mayor in this category openly and explicitly associating american muslims with al qaeda. what i would like to know from not just the former mayor but from the people who keep talking about the islamic community center, what is it that this multifaith, multistory community center being led by an american imam that two presidents, republican and democrat, have used as an ambassador to the muslim world, cultural ambassador to the muslim world, what does that have to do with al qaeda? the answer is simple, actually, islam.
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let's call a spade a spade for a moment. if you are painting 1.5 billion people with the same brush of violence and extremism, you're a bigot. and i think what's disturbing is the way that that's become part of the natural discourse. >> it's become politicized. 9/11 has been politicized in different ways, you can argue, since then, but in a different way now. >> we have a lot of threads tangled together. both president bush and r president obama for reasons you cited in your article have sd that it is in our interest to make clear and no one more forcefully than president obama in the last few days that the u.s. is at war with terror but we're not at war with islam. that's been viewed as essential to send that message to the world. the lesson we're seeing in this controversy over the mosque is not all americans agree. and, in fact, with president bush out of office, bush expressing those sentiments sort of suppressed that kind of argument in the republican party.
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if you look at polling out recently in "time" magazine, a plurality said that muslims should not be able to run for president. the flip side of this is that to some extent the sentiment is being driven by what you ha describe as already happening. the successor to the 9/11 commission, the national es security preparedness group came out with a powerful study this week that talked about cases of terrorism being part of a new pattern in terms of becoming the major security threat to the u.s. and that in many cases it is radicalized american muslims. fringe element of the overall population but nonetheless real in things like the times square and texas shooter fueled sentiment on the other side which may, in fact, produce kind of a downward spiral here. >> if some of the demonization of the other because of what the country is going through right now? we're in an economic situation as i pointed out on the front page of "the new york times" more and more families going into homeless shelters. 's this is not just a policy debate
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about taxes and spending it's about real impact on real lives around the country. is that in part what's fueling this? and can president obama make a gesture like going to a mosque saying, that's something he admired about what president bush did say it is not a war against islam. can he do something like that? >> there's no question that throughout our history when times have been bad in economic declines and depression or in times when we've been at war, we've been susceptible to vilifying some group of people whether it's interning the japanese americans during world war ii and many other instances across our country so there's no question that fueling it and people saw political opportunity in fueling it. people are economically uncertain but there's political opportunity, and that's why we're seeing the splitization yesterday for the first time in commemoration of 9/11 and so you have sort of economic downturn meets political opportunity and it's created this really unfortunate -- >> mike murphy, rudy giuliani in
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the past several months has been so critical of this administration's orientation on fighting the war on terror but now he's agreeing with president obama saying it can't dominate our foreign sebastopol see. >> i think the company's united against fighting the war on terrorism. you can argue tactics and foreign policy emphasis because of many things. islamofascism is something you can argue about. it's something that's a national consensus on and that's part of the problem with this debate now on iam. the elections aren't about islam. one of the problems is there becomes a phony equivalence. so religion is a weapon to them. we're trying to be a civil society and so i think we have to be careful to keep our consensus of no bigotries. some nut in florida with a press release and a bic lighter becomes a moon launch. i blame the media for some of
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thouat. there ought to be control of the access general on this. i think we're a tolerant country and we're the good guys. >> let's talk about the midterm elections and the economic power of this recession. dee dee myers, i take you back now to 1993 and the documentary, "the war room." this was james carville. well, we have that, but first let's show you this. 7 out of 10 americans know somebody who is currently out of work in this recession. this is the poll that "the national journal," ron brownstein's group has worked on. this is the war room and the famous message from james carville back then. >> stay focused. talk about things that matter to the people. you know, it's the economy, stupid. >> it's the economy, stupid. here we are again. and yet people's connection to the recession, people have been laid off. is the president connecting on this issue? >> i think he's trying to. i think the results sort of speak for themselves. he's having trouble connecting on it and having trouble making people believe that he's done enough and he starts every conversation by saying, look, we've done a lot, but we haven't
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gotten where we need to be and we need to keep working. people are frustrated. one of the things, clinton, in 1994, we had a terrible midterm and lost both houses of congress and the economy was improving and people are still feelinvulnerable. bout, ron, the chaosem in '94 theory. democrats couldn't get anything done. democrats have got an lot done, mike murphy. right? financial reform, health care reform, a big stimulus. this is the point i was asking david axelrod about. there's a lack of confidence now after they have seen what the president has done in things getting better. >> i think they have a lot of things done. they haven'totten a lot of results that the american people think have been effective. what happened when the president ran as a centrist and became kind of a more docket rinaire, more liberal with house democratic definition of that, he lost the country and lost the independents and some of the working class white voters he had. people now think that after two years of almost complete power in washington, he's had more power man many presidents have
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had because he's had all the houses and tremendous mandate and he hasn't delivered. people feel the pain and they want a change and there's clear there will be a change. >> here's a sense of history, we'll put it up on the screen. midterm history for first term presidents is mostly pretty as we see it revealed here.er, a lot of losses across the board in our recent history. 2002 the exception after 9/11. what's happening here? >> pretty wide distribution. the first thing i learned this morning is the rule of politics, from your interview with david axle rod, if you are at 9.6% unemployment and it's not going down, there's not a good answer to any question. in fact, people are looking at over 60% of the country saying we're on the wrong track. what's not changing is people's report of their own current circumstances, but what's really changed is the level of optimism about the future. you ta slked about the poldown from 55% saying the economy will get better over the next year. 70% said that in the spring. that's the real cloud hanging over democrats. it could be very bad. i would say quickly there are two distinct strains of
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disenchantment happening here. there's an ideological backlash going on around low 40% of the electorate. beyond that obama has a problem with performance and results. that's affecting even groups that were into the core of his coalition in 2008 and are not necessarily drawn towards these republican solutions. if they have any hope of avoiding full-scale disaster in november, which seems to be diminishing, it really is about trying to make his moreoi of a choice rather than a referendum, which is difficult to do in a midterm election. >> health care reform, they have not won the argument there. you can look at the polling. this was written in the "new york post" on friday which i thought was interesting. the health care bill united the gop and united the party and gave the party in need of a defining issue a marching order for the next several years and before passage this was a signature achievement. tough if you're a president and democrats who can't run on that achievement in the midterms. >> they didn't win the argument
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over health care. they didn't win the argument over financial reform and, obviously, the presidenwants to make this election about either moving forward or moving backward but as ron was saying most people feel like we're actually standing perfectly still. they don't see backwards and forwards as two options. there's not a lot of room here. for the democrats to -- >> in eight weeks, what can the president do to save the house? >> i think he can, first of all, he's going to have to contribute to the effort to target carefully. you have to triage. it's a brutal and ugly time in the party when you have to. you can raise money which he's done effectively and campaign in a few districts but that's not the silver bullet. he don't save the house by campaigning for specific members. he can focus on the economy as we've seen him do more aggressively particularly this week. >> you said on this program last year you described the republican party as russia 1919. i don't forget these quotes. >> a lot of warlords.
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>> warlords in republican party running around and nobody is in charge. do you think that's still the case or vedo you think republics have united in a way that can return them to po owemar and be effect? >> president obama has become a great savior. if he stayed in the center he could have put us back no a long time but he went hard left and there's been reaction to his policies across the board and they're going to lose. i told republicans to brag less and organize a little more and not get the expectations out of control, but every poll now is his stork. the only thing the president can do is build a time machine and go back in time to save an outcome that i don't know how bad it will be for democratsut people are mad. they don't believe this administration has delivered. nor their allies inashington. it wl be a different washington. >> i want to look at one specific race out in california. we all have california connections. i'm an l.a. native. we can go around the table. we all have a californ connection. the governor's race in california, mike murphy, you are working with meg whitman, the republican, former head of ebay and here's the poll. it's a tight race. she's ahead two percentage
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points over attorney general jerry brown, former governor, of course. this is, ron brownstein, a tight race in a state in a lot of economic trouble. >> right, absolutely. it's been the biggest blue state in the country overwhelming margin for president obama. i believe he won it by more than linden johnson did in 1964. it is easier for a republican to win as a statewide level than at the federal level because some of the polarizing social issues and wedge issues like abortion and gun control that could trip up carly fiorina at the federal level aren't as relevant in the state elections. meg whitman has spent a lot of money this summer and not put away jerry brown. i think you have to say she's the favorite. the fact that he's hanging around where he is with all of the negatives that he carries shows that he's really in this. >> what's your view of the race? >> i think meg will win because she fits california well. the election's -- yeah, no. it's a jobs program. she's contributed. people know she knows how to create jobs. that's number one issue. they know she's from the silicon va wlley where delivering resul is what we need in sacramento.
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jerry brown is a time machine of failure. >> why does meg want to be governor of california? why would anyone want to be governor of california? >> because men won't spend $140 million of their money to get it. >> california is so expensive. it's about getting a message out against e entrenched public employees union. i believe it. i live there. >> we have to leave it there. we'll see what happens. we'll watch in california and around the cntry. thanks to everybody. in the right direction? at oppenheimerfunds, our fund managers' perspective on the numbers helps uncover opportunities no matter which way the markets are mong. ask your advisor about oppenheimerfunds. prospectus with complete fund information. read it carefully and carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. mutual funds are subject to market risk and volatility. shares may lose or gain value. oppenheimerfunds. the right way to invest. [ dog barking ] [ sniffing ] [ male anuncer ] missing something? like 2 pairs of glasses for $99.99 at sears optical,
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before we go, a before we go, a quick programming note. tune into msnbc this afternoon at noon and 3:00 p.m. for a special rebroadcast of brian williams reports, "new orleans an american story" and join us next week. i'll be joined live by former secretary of state colin powell for an exclusive interview. that's all for today. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." but on weight watchers, i can. weigh less than i did in high school. can. stand here not suckin' in a thing. sure can.
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